Beef, Crumble, Eggs and Chocolate.
The Gourmet Village is back again in this year’s Savour 2013 with a plethora of restaurants including some new faces such as Pollen Street Social from London and the Tasting Room from South Africa. I am glad to see the return of Bo Innovation from Hong Kong as well.
The Tasting Room at Le Quartier Francais, South Africa
Walking through the gourmet village, eggs, crumble (nuts and crumble), chocolate and beef dominated the menus of the gourmet village this year and complexity is the in-word for all the items from the various restaurants, trying to stand out from each other. It was a move that has backfired for me when the dishes simply fell short of expectations.
The Seared Scallop, Aerated Scallop and Dill Vichysoisse, Barley and Squid Ink (10 SD) tasted like normal scallops with a savoury sauce and cruncy bits. Its name was definitely more exciting than the actual dish and it was only nice at best.
Also from the Tasting Room at Le Quartier Francais, the Beetroot Sponge, Wild Rice and Macadamia Salad, Baobab Yoghurt (10 SD) was overpowered by the yoghurt, a sure-win with yoghurt lovers but once again another dish with an exciting name but nothing special.
L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon, Singapore
L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon of Singapore’s Le Sensation (8 SD), Creamy “Valrhona” chocolate with cacao sorbet failed to generate any sensation for me.
It was just a good chocolate mousse but the texture kind of fell short of my expectation, the chocolate was kind of watered down and texture wise, nothing particularly exciting. Nonetheless, I give it credit for being one of the more reasonably priced desserts in the gourmet village.
Pollen Street Social, United Kingdom
The highly anticipated Pollen Street Social from UK headed by Jason Atherton was a hot spot for visitors to Savour 2013 yesterday. So being the ka poh Singaporean attracted to long queues, I decided to try out their White Chocolate and Coconut Panna Cotta, with Lime Compressed Pineapple, Pistachios and Alfonso Mango Puree (6 SD). It was a disaster. the panna cotta was thick, heavy and over-saturated with coconut. Each mouthful was a cloying dollop of “coconut cream”. I see it as an attempt to re-create a Thai or perhaps local-inspired dessert, but a good chendol or mango sticky rice tasted way better than this.
Bo Innovation, Hong Kong
But in the village, some restaurants do stand out, Bo Innovation, instead of following the trend of making some sou vide, French termed dish, decides to instead serve re-interpretations of classics and simple dishes. Their Molecular “Xiao Long Bao” (6 SD) is back again but the winning dish for us is their Cha Chan Tang (10 SD), an interesting re-invention of the classic dishes in a Coffeeshop.
The Cha Chan Tang features Butter Toast Ice Cream, Condensed Milk Foam, Peanut Butter and Apricot Ice, Kaya Marshmallow, “Ying Yang” Hot Milk Tea and Cold Coffee, the various elements just worked and combining each of the various elements yield a different kind of experience. It is easily one of the most memorable dishes at Savour 2013 for us.
Stellar at 1-Altitude, Singapore
Food is about the senses and Stellar @ 1-Altitude stood out from other restaurants by introducing a BBQ Tent. The smoky aromas from the process of grilling the meat was probably one of the factors for drawing a sizable crowd yesterday night. The only other restaurant that has a theatrical element to it is Saint Pierre which amazes visitors with their liquid nitrogen.
I was invited to try Stellar’s Signature Sushi, a trio of Spicy Tuna Maki, Swordfish Miso Maki and Lobster Sakura Ebi Maki (14 SD). They may not tell you about it, I suggest you start off with the Lobster, followed by the Swordfish and Spicy Tuna for a progression of flavours to better enjoy these sushi.
I also had the opportunity to try a trio of the meats offered by the Stellar Grill known as the Meat Lovers’ Platter (30 SD), such as the Kobe C Rib of Beef with Foie Gras Sauce, Australian Lamb Rack and Smoked Short Rib of Beef served with Pommes Gruyere and Condiments. All three were decently executed, the Australian Lamb Rack came with an exotic or South Asian inspired spice mix of cumin and tomatoes and the Kobe C Rib of Beef was beautifully tender and juicy. I could see why it has such a crowd at the event now.
With Nespresso as the presenting partner and title sponsor of the event, one could look forward to complimentary Macchiato Latte or Cappuccino!
One of my favourite highlights of Savour 2012 was the Gourmet Market last year which featured a number of vendors and a make-shift 360 Marketplace.
This year’s gourmet market has shrunk a fair bit but the marketplace is still there with plenty of samples ranging from jamon iberico to fruits to try before deciding to buy these fresh produce and delicatessen to enjoy at home.
The best part is none other than a corner dedicated to cheese served with all sorts of condiments, crackers and nuts.
The Maison Therese relishes also made a comeback, remember them from Foodpath.sg? They have a small booth too.
Other vendors at the Gourmet Market include Windowsill Pies located on the 3rd Level, Balzac Brasserie (you can enjoy their signature Lobster Bisque for 8 SD), Absinthe, Oso Ristorante, Big O.
Unlike last year, the official airline partner is Lufthansa. Their booth however is Spartan compared to the standalone lounge AirFrance has last year with macarons and Eiffel tower cards. Lufthansa’s booth is like an art installation at the time of our visit.
There was a cocktail lesson and other demonstrations going on, but unfortunately we are in the midst of a busy school week, we didn’t had time for that.
Bring Your Own Water
Water isn’t cheap at Savour 2013 and you cannot survive on booze, free wine tasting and coffee alone. So bring your own water when you visit Savour 2013 unless you don’t mind paying 4 bucks for some Fiji water.
I personally enjoyed last year’s Savour event more than this year, the gourmet market was more diverse with a larger array of vendors and interesting products, while I was informed that this year’s turnout was better by ticket sales, it was sad to see the shrink in vendors at the gourmet market which was finally opened all day as compared to last year’s noon and evening sessions which made the whole event a rather rushed-through experience.
Finally, I thought the gourmet village experience was hampered by the lackluster gourmet experience due to an unhealthy obsession with complicated food which led to dishes that over-promise and under deliver. Then there are also the highly-anticipated restaurants with a menu you could easily find outside Savour.
Still, it’s a still a worthwhile visit for the foodies and food lovers as it is an opportunity to try a variety of restaurants without travelling to Hong Kong for Bo Innovation or to Sentosa to try Osia. People visiting Stellar in the afternoons in the weekends also get to try their Pain Perdu, a French Toast brunch special created for the event itself.
Thank You Rena Phua from Clout & Hog and Immelia from the 1-Rochester Group for the invitation to Savour 2013!
11 - 14th April 2013
1 Republic Boulevard
F1 Pit Building and Paddok.